The Nostalgic Spring Sojourn | Part 8

It had been a while but the wave came again Friday night – I’d felt a bit unsettled all afternoon and decided, following dinner, that a walk to the pub for a couple might help. It didn’t, that intense feeling of loneliness was hovering around so I went back to Patsy and stuck some music on. You’ll know the rest.

Saturday was my last full day at Kilnsea and I was feeling perkier after a half decent nights sleep. This was very much an ‘at the ‘van’ day and it might come as shock to you but I didn’t even venture to the pub for a couple of lunchtime pints as mooted. Since the start of the trip I’d been cleaning Patsy’s exterior with Triplewax Waterless Wash & Shine – an excellent recommendation from Dan Trudgian last summer - and finally completed that in the morning, except the back that is – that’s going to need lots of water. The old girl still don’t scrub up too bad though, bless her. I wrote a blog post, had a play with the new Wi-Fi gear from Solwise and started preparations for my departure on Sunday. With one hundred and eighty or so miles ahead and loosing an hour thanks to the clocks changing I wanted as little to do in the morning as possible.

My plan, such as it was, worked and I was pulling out of the gate at 0940 – in real terms 0840 of course – and that was probably as good as I could have hoped for. I needn’t have worried about disturbing anyone though as everyone seemed to be up an about. I noticed that my routine was being watched by a couple of fellas, standing just far enough away so as not to be within speaking distance, or ‘offering help distance’ as I thought somewhat cynically - and trying – and failing – not to look as if they were looking. Clearly I looked like I was managing just fine on my own – which in truth I was. My routine has gotten much more organised over time but still needs fine tuning.

My destination was the Ashridge Farm Caravan & Motorhome Club Site in the village of Ashwell in Hertfordshire and as expected it took nearly four hours in total, going through Hull and across the Humber Bridge, joining the A1 near Newark. I stopped just once for a quick leak and in all honesty felt fine, Pepsi Max providing the necessary caffeine boost. Rosie clearly found it thirsty work too, managing barely 25mpg, although to be fair to her it was windier than I expected and I did get my foot down a bit harder when circumstances allowed.

The club’s instructions were very clear – approach only via the A505 and I sensed the nice lady from Google Maps getting cross with me as I ignored her instructions three times to take cross country routes from the A1. Eventually she worked out what I was doing.

It was here that I was supposed to be meeting my cousin Andy & Janet – but poor Jan had taken a tumble in the week and, although thankfully had not broken anything, could hardly move and was in considerable pain, so they’d regretfully had to cancel. However some friends were already on site, although sadly not present to see yet another slick motor mover free reversing manoeuvre from yours truly. My neighbour to be was though, although he was doing his best not to look as if he was looking..

Now, this is the part of the trip where the title becomes slightly inaccurate – I’d never been to this site before, however it is a case of third time lucky. We were booked on here during our winter trip in the December of 2017, then Trev’s Mum died and we had to bypass it, going straight to Cambridge. Last year it was to be our final stop off on the way home after our summer trip – and you know what happened then.

I’d just about finished setting up when my friends Alison, her son Adam & partner Jamie returned from an expedition to get something for dinner. An earlier incursion to the village to book a table had proved unsuccessful, it being Mothers Day. Suddenly I too realised I needed the shops because if we were staying in I need something to drink – sorry, research samples - so off I went, this time listening to the nice lady from Google Maps. It was soon clear why the club had said not to tow through the village as it wouldn’t have been much fun with Patsy on the back.

Anyway, dinner – cooked by Adam – was lovely and we had a good chin-wag over an ale or three too. It was nice once again to be among the company of friends.

Monday and the weatherman was true to his word as the sun was making it’s presence felt after a chilly night. Alison did the honours with a very welcome cooked brekky then, later we headed out in Adam’s car for a look around this little part of the country, the first stop being in Saffron Walden, a lovely little market town just over the border in Essex. Always worth a visit and after a stroll around coffee was taken outside in the glorious sunshine. It really was a cracking day.

Next up was back in Hertfordshire and Royston. Pleasant enough but I don’t think any of us were particularly inspired, it did however provide an opportunity for some cut-price research in the shape of the local Wetherspoons, alongside some tasty nibbles.

Last stop of the day was Letchworth – the UK’s and World’s first ever Garden City and apparently the location for the UK’s first roundabout too. You may recall we stopped in Welwyn Garden City in December 2017 so I was keen to compare. Time was marching on so we didn’t have long but there were certainly similarities with the wide open airy spaces. A traditional sweetshop in one of the arcades grabbed our attention and was the recipient of some custom too.

That evening we walked - yes, walked – into the village and to the pub that had been fully booked the day before – The Three Tuns – for the Last Supper, as Adam & Jamie would be departing in the morning. It was worth the 24 hour wait as the food was excellent and afterwards we adjourned to then lounge and slumped into some comfy chairs well and truly stuffed. Not exactly a traditional boozer – very much geared for food as many have to be now – but they  kept some nice real ales, a couple of which I’d not sampled. That was soon put right.

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